OFLA Beginning Teachers Chair
Woo hoo! You’ve made it! You’re halfway through your first year (or another year, if you aren’t a first-year teacher)! The end may not really be in sight, but you have at least the first semester under your belt. As we enter January and back-to-school, it’s the time as a society that we get a fresh start and embark on making those resolutions for the year to come.
While resolutions can feel daunting or unattainable, here are three suggestions for the beginning teacher:
1.Pick one thing to work on. I know it’s tempting as we enter into the new year to satisfy the impulse of implementing many new ideas, but I suggest to you (and to myself, honestly) to select 1-2 manageable, quantifiable things to work on for this second semester. Maybe you want to set aside a certain amount of time for yourself in the new year or really focus on updating your LMS lesson plans daily. Either way, selecting 1-2 small goals will help you to feel successful. You won’t feel as though you’ve let yourself down when you can’t keep all the balls in the air. Then, once those become habit, you can work on another small, manageable goal.
2.Keep collaborating. It’s intimidating to be a new teacher when you see all the cool activities other teachers are doing. It takes time (and years) to create new activities. So, find a friend and collaborate on new activities. Share any fun games or activities that you develop with other teachers and, in turn, they’ll share good ideas with you. Social media can be a double edged-sword: you can use it to feel inferior to other teachers (“Oh, wow, their classroom is so well-decorated!”) or you can use it to network, reach out, grow and connect with other people who teach your language.
3. Set professional goals. As teachers, we love to keep learning and one of the best ways is to get outside of our bubble and learn from other teachers. If you’re new to the profession, it can be hard to choose which PD opportunities will help the most. This year, pick 2-3 that sound good to you and check them out. One such opportunity is attending the OFLA conference that is coming up in April. There are other regional PD opportunities sponsored by language-specific organizations and as always, you can look to the folks at the Ohio Department of Education.
Overall, just remember to be kind to yourself and use this time of resolution setting to continue to learn and develop your practice without overwhelming yourself. From there, hopefully 2018 will be a productive year of personal and professional growth and progression!